Judi Powers: Designer

When I returned from Jewelry Week in Las Vegas, I mentioned that one of the high points (aside from seeing all the fantabulous jewelry), was finally meeting people in person whom I had only known online. Judi Powers is one of those lovely people, and meeting her “live” at the JCK show was so much fun! We hugged as if we were longtime friends, which I guess in a way…we were!

One of the first things I had to see at her booth was her Arun Sawad collection. I had been seeing images of these pieces on Instagram, and they did not disappoint in person! On her website she describes the inspiration for this design, “Many years ago while I was traveling in Thailand I fell in love with a riverside temple called Wat Arun, or temple of the dawn. As the sun was rising over this beautiful and sacred place, there was a warm golden glow in the sky. The colors of the diamonds with the gold remind me so much of that special place…”

judi powers arun sawad collection
And take a look at this green tourmaline ring with tsavorite garnets. Gorge, right?

judi powers green tourmaline ring with tsavorite garnets
Judi has not always been a jewlery designer. In fact, she spent 22 years in publishing. Jewelry has always been in her blood, though. She told me as a young girl she used to sneak off to spend time at her local jewelry store. Though she has been making jewelry since just after 9/11, her full-time transition to jewelry designer happened with a bang. She applied to FIT and got in just two weeks before classes were to begin. So, she quit her job on a Friday and began classes at FIT on a Monday. No down time there! Just one month after graduation, she entered and won a jewelry competition, which helped set her on her course to success. Her winning design, “A Tree Grows,” was inspired by a spring tree in her own Brooklyn neighborhood.

judi powers a tree grows necklace
I’m so proud of the sustainability in Judy’s line as well, from metals to stones. She told me, “The line is completely sustainable, from mine to stone-cutter to studio.” (If you’d like more details about her dedication to sustainable jewlery, click here to read more.) Speaking of stones, I was drawn to this pair of earrings, which feature mis-matched beryl crystals — so harmonious, and perfectly imperfect.

judi powers mis-matched beryl crystal earringgs
She recently posted this photo on Instagram highlighting rings in an analogous color scheme. I can’t decide which is my favorite. Do you have one?

judi powers rings
And are you a fan of flowers? Then you’ll enjoy these bracelets and rings from her Impatiens collection, which come in gold and silver with mocha diamond accents.

judi powers impatiens collection
Though I could have stayed and chatted (and tried on jewlery) all day, I had to get going. Judi, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you! Thank you for sharing your story and jewelry with me.

amy roseveare and judi powers

Monique Pean: Designer

I have this beautifully decorated folder called my “Style File” that sits front and center on my desk. Whenever I see something in a magazine that I love, I rip it out and add it to my file. These are not necessarily items that I can afford or even fit, but they just speak to me. Through this process, I’m really able to see my style direction, and it inspires me each and every time I look through it.

Well about a year ago I saw a pair of earrings (though I can’t even remember in what publication!) that just took my breath away. They were an elongated teardrop of some sort of horn, with the tiniest of diamonds carefully inlaid in each one. I HAD to try them on! So off I went to Barney’s, and voila, there they were, in the Monique Pean case! Yes! They were perfect — they suited my face shape, complemented my coloring, and they were as light as a feather. Had they been in my budget, I would have gone home wearing them. But alas…I am left to just dream about them.

With this experience still fresh in my mind over a year later, imagine how delighted I was to meet this talented designer in person at the Couture show.

monique pean and amy roseveare
Meeting one of my jewelry idols!

Once I started researching Monique, it wasn’t just her incredible designs that drew me to her. In fact, she is “committed to luxury bespoke products that promote social and environmental responsibility.” Her entire line is comprised of sustainable, conflict-free and fair-trade materials. She is active in the No Dirty Gold campaign, as well as various other charities. She explained to me that mining gold releases mercury into the earth. (that’s not good!) And creating just one ring NOT using sustainable materials can create up to 20 tons of waste!! I can’t even wrap my head around that one. One of her main thrusts has been to help people get clean drinking water. Currently, she has made that happen for over 5000 people for the next 20 years. Now if that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is!!

OK, I can go on and on about this highly-awarded designer, who’s line launched in 2006, but I’ll stop there. Let’s get down to the jewels!!

Here is a classic example of how she uses fossilized walrus ivory along with black diamonds to craft a one-of-a-kind statement ring.

monique pean ring
This would work dressed up or down!

And here is a bracelet also made from the fossilized walrus ivory. You can really see how the natural materials have great color variation.

monique pean jewelry
Organically stunning

Not all of her pieces are on the larger scale. She also has many delicate designs as well. I think these opal slice studs would be an amazing addition to my jewelry box! (dreaming again….) She told me that all the opals she uses are hand-chiseled, with no dynamite used.

monique pean
Another item on my lust list

While this necklace is about the same price as a luxury automobile, I’d still choose the necklace! It’s created from diamond slices and slices of fossilized wooly mammoth.

monique pean
Fit for a princess!

It’s no surprise that Monique has a huge celebrity following as well, from Michelle Obama to stars of screen and stage. Here’s Leighton Meester adorned in some lovely earrings by Pean.

leighton meester
I think she’s happy because she’s wearing such pretty earrings

I just love that this jewelry is making such a positive impact on the earth, in addition to making it more gorgeous. I hope to one day own my own piece by Monique, but in the meanwhile, I will keep appreciating the collection and all Monique does for our planet.